Tales of Graces F, the 12th installment of Tales Studio and the new game in Tales franchise recently released to PlayStation 3 carrying a theme “To know the strength to Protect”. Wide range of changes (or i should say “improvements”) made to the original Wii version like additional costume, new story elements and new battle skills, but developer took a gamble and decided not to change the main storyline of the game. Now as the game is out lets figure it out whether the risk taken by developer of keeping the main storyline unchanged paid off or not.
Tales of Graces takes place in a planet known as Efinea. The people of Efinea use a substance called Arles which is composed of another substance called Cryas which has allowed civilizations on the planet to flourish. On Efinea there are three kingdoms–Windol, Strata, and Fendel–who are competing for dominance of the planet.
In the remote region of Windol lies the city of Lhant. The eldest son of the feudal lord Aston, Asbel, is a bright and cheerful boy who spent his childhood like any other carefree boy does: enjoy everyday together with his irreplaceable friends. After Sophie’s supposed death Asbel decides to enlist himself in a knight’s academy in the capital in order to gain the power to protect others.
The main story takes place seven years after the incident. In his eighth year, Asbel has grown up and established himself as a fine knight. However, at the death of his father, Aston, he gives up his dream to become a knight and takes over his father’s position of a feudal lord.
Much Advance Battle System
Apart from having new story, Tales of Graces f features a new battle system “Style Shift Linear Motion Battle System” also know as “SS-LMBS”. This new battle system allows gamers to choose from two different fighting styles “A-style pre-determined” and “changeable B-style” for example Asbel’s brother Hubert uses melee dual wield swords in his A-style and ranged dual wield guns in his B-style.
Gamers can switch between these styles of fighting at any instance of the game.
With this new battle system, in-game fighting becomes more dynamic as it provides 13 extra preset skills noncompetitive to the previous installment in the series which provided only four of them.
The only let down in the battle encounter occur during the game’s multiplayer mode, even though the linearity in battles decreases in the multiplayer mode, it zoom out the battle screen so that each gamers can keep an eye on their respective characters, this zooming out of screen at times makes it difficulty to concentrate on the battlefield.
Combine and Energy Gauge System in the game:
Combine System and Energy Gauge are two more new system in the game which add a much required X-factor to game. Combine System combines two items into a single superior one and in itself it’s a good system as it gives a tough competition and challenge in successfully completing the collector’s book. However at the end of the game the list of items to combine gets too long and it becomes too annoying and tiresome task.
On the other hand Energy Gauge can be used to clone raw materials, consume items that too automatically in the battles. It also offers many benefits and aid to the gamers especially by making use of grimoires as raising its power required an extra as well as excessive amount of efforts.
Overall Presentation and Cast:
Talking about the overall presentation of the game the developers doesn’t disappoints at all, to present all the above new features, Tales of Graces f re-renders
all the graphics and scenario into HD resolution. The game design have a glorious and soothing style specially the hi-ougis scenes which is very well designed and alluring.
Heavy Cast of the Tales of Graces also play an important role in the success of the game, in particular the performance of Kana Hanazawa where she imitates voice and tone of a total of 6 characters. The voice actor has given a new life to the game with their hard work and speechless performance.
Game “Protect” Theme:
One of the biggest let down of the game is its hard selling theme of “protect”, the RPG name “to Know the Strength to Protect” is attractive but in the entire gameplay it fails to provide any valid reason or scenario to protect. Without any valid reason or scenario gamers don’t just vow to protect someone who is unknown
and they just met.
Map Exploration and Camera Angles Issue:
Map Exploration is also one of the important points with respect to gameplay. Discarding the use of traditional world map, Graces f connects the fields and locales with detailed location geometry like Hearts did, making the worldview more realistic and beautiful. But there are certain area and section that Graces f did not catch up from Heart’s exploration system, the issue that gamers can no longer have the rights to adjust the camera angles and also fly across the complete field in their very own flying vehicle is really very disappointing.
Depend too much on DLC for Costumes:
All the fun and exciting content of the game comes with DLC, such as Code Geass costume set and .hack// costume set. In short the game focus too much on DLC and is totally dependent on it for the fun contents like costumes and attachments. There isn’t enough non DLC wardrobe.
Tales of Graces as a whole is a pretty good game for PlayStation 3 with a great storyline. It has excellent presentation, with lots of new features to explorer like an all new battle system.
If Namco Bandai release patch fix for the minor issues and flaws the game is plague, it would be nice for them but these seems unlikely by looking at their current financial status. But still we hope for the best.
- Overall Presentation including th graphics, voice actor and soundtrack
- Improve and advance Battles System
- Game “Protect” theme at times makes story irrational and unrealistic.
- Fact that gamers can’t adjust camera angle and fly across the field in their flying vehicle end game is disappointing.
- Non Enough Non-DLC Wardrobe